13 Oct 2017

Bruce Cooper discusses why we remain an attractive global destination for foreign investment

The outlook for Australia and its economy is optimistic, with a strong pipeline of opportunities for inbound investment.

But if you're an overseas investor, or an international law firm with clients transacting in Australia, you can only take advantage of those opportunities when you know the State of Play in Australia: the key market trends and latest developments in foreign investment, regulation, restructuring and disputes. 

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.

TRANSCRIPT

The current landscape for a business in Australia is remarkably optimistic. We don't expect to see a great deal of deviation from it which we've seen in the past, so accordingly mining, mining infrastructure and mining investment will continue to be a catalyst for inbound investment. But we also think that in the energy space, renewal energy (particularly solar and wind and, to a lesser extent, certainly hydro and battery storage) will continue to be a driver in that area as well.

Australia's position as one of the top 10 producers of agricultural products will continue to drive growth. Protein ‒ both meat and fish ‒ as well as grain and other horticultural products will be very large on the horizon for inbound investment. In that respect, watch out for the development of the Northern Territory and the Australian Government's and the Northern Territory Government's push into agriculture in that state.

Australia of course continues to be a major tourism destination but the differential between the number of tourists inbound and hotel rooms means that there's a significant amount of leisure property investment which we'll see driving parts of certainly the East Coast and the West Coast of Australia to cater for that inbound leisure and tourism development.

Australia's financial institution and its financial system is one of the Asia-Pacific's largest. You'll see a number of big Australian financial institutions continue to analyse exactly what its core propositions are and you'll see some Aussie financial institutions start to divest some non-core assets.

Australia's superannuation and funds under management industry, which is currently standing at about $2.1 trillion, is slated over the next 15 years to grow to around about $7.5 trillion. Coming out of that you'll see significant opportunities as Australian fund managers look for investment opportunities, both at home but more importantly on income-producing assets abroad.

So looking forward, we'll continue to see active balance sheet management by large Australian companies and the 22,000 foreign entities that are operating in Australia. We'll see an expectation of a 75% to 80% level of the Australian dollar against the US dollar continue to throw up opportunities, both greenfield and brownfield, in sectors we talked about previously.

Given Australia's relatively benign foreign investment regime, and given the pipeline of extensive opportunities across the sectors we've talked about, Australia still remains one of the more attractive global destinations for foreign investment.